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What Is the Average Pay of a Nutritionist?

Nutritionists help people modify their diet to prevent disease and promote better health. Read on to find out how the average pay for nutritionists can depend on your education, certification, employer and region.

Overview of Salaries

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the mean yearly wage for nutritionists and dietitians was $61,210 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The 10th percentile of workers earned $38,460 annually or less as of May 2018, and the 90th percentile earned $84,610 annually or more. Additionally, PayScale.com reported that nutritionists earned an average annual wage of $44,858 in June 2019.

Important Facts About Nutritionists

On-the-Job Training Internship required
Licensure Required by most states; must earn a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, participate in supervised training, and pass an exam
Key Skills Listening, speaking, problem-solving, organizational, and analytical skills; compassion
Work Environment Schools, nursing home care centers, hospitals, cafeterias
Similar Occupations Registered nurse, rehabilitation counselor, health educator, community health worker

Salaries by Certification

A bachelor's degree in nutrition or dietetics is usually required to work as a nutritionist. If you want to become a Registered Dietitian (RD), you need to earn certification through the Commission on Dietetic Registration. To qualify for certification, you must meet education and practical experience requirements. You must pass the certification test to earn the RD designation.

If you're interested in how certification might increase your income, PayScale.com reported that Registered Dietitians in the 10th-90th percentile range made a yearly salary between $41,000 and $67,000 in June 2019.

Salaries by Industry

According to the BLS, the grantmaking and giving services industry offered the top pay in the field with a mean yearly salary of $73,910 as of May 2018. Merchant wholesalers of nondurable foods offered an average yearly salary of $73,610 and the federal executive branch of government had the third highest average salary of $73,520.

The BLS also reported that general medical and surgical hospitals employed the most dietitians and nutritionists in May 2018, and the average salary was $62,640. Outpatient care centers had the second highest employment level and offered an average salary of $66,840. Nursing care facilities came in third and paid an average wage of $60,230.

Salaries by Region

According to the BLS, California was the highest-paying state for nutritionists and dietitians, and it offered workers a mean annual salary of $74,060 as of May 2018. Other states with the top average pay for this field included Alaska ($71,210), Connecticut ($69,610), Hawaii ($69,050) and New Jersey ($68,810). Nutritionists and dietitians working in the lowest-paying states averaged $47,580-$55,120. Some places with these lower-than-average wages included Iowa, Montana, Idaho, Mississippi, Georgia, New Mexico and South Carolina.

The state with the greatest concentration of workers was North Dakota, reported the BLS, and the mean wage for this state was $56,240. According to the BLS, Pennsylvania employed over 3,000 nutritionists and dietitians and offered a high concentration of workers. The average wage in this state was $56,440 in 2018.

Job Outlook

Faster-than-average job growth at a rate of 15% is projected for dietitians and nutritionists over the 2016-2026 period, according to the BLS. Public awareness of healthy eating is one factor for this growth. The BLS expects that there will be favorable job prospects overall, especially for those with certification and degrees.